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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 19, 2014 10:00pm-12:01am EST

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the winners should go over there. ♪ >> and that concludes book tv's live coverage of the national book foundation's national book awards. on sunday they will air the awards in their entirety. the awards for fiction, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. ..
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president obama will unveil an executive order on immigration policy tomorrow night offering temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants. the measure could provide permits for up to 5 million people. you will have live coverage at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. a house panel looks at the technical and security problems with the healthcare .gov website. we will hear from the chief technology officer todd park korea congressman paul brown shares the subcommittee hearing.
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this hearing on the committee will come to quarter. without objection the chair is authorized to declare recess of the committee at any time. good morning and welcome to today's hearing. in front of you are packets containing the testimony, biography and the truth and testimony disclosure for today's witness. i recognize myself for five minutes for an opening statement. i want to thank my colleagues for being here today and i want to especially thank the witness for his presence. we've been waiting a very long time to be able to question you. i'm sorry we have to come to the point of issuing the subpoena to get that to happen but i'm glad you are here today. the committee has invited you several times, on five different occasions. we wrote directly to you as well as to the correct or character of office of science and technology policy.
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none of those invitations to listen to the yes response that we got as a result of the subpoena. in the course of the correspondence several claims were made as to why you were not the individual to answer the committee questions such as that the personnel haven't been substantially involved in developing or implementing the federally facilitated marketplace measures. to protect the website you do not manage those responsible for keeping the site safe. and you're not a cyber security experts which is an interesting description of you to say the least. you are the cofounder of athena
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health which is one of the best in the industry that became very wealthy in doing that. as an employee you helped launch the smarter it delivery agenda which created a new u.s. digital service. and you created a version of health care .gov. how do these activities not require cybersecurity expertise. november 13, 2013 in sworn testimony on the oversight and government reform you said that you did not have a detailed knowledge base of the website before it was launched and that you were not deeply familiar with the development and testing regimen that happened prior to october 1. the committee has in its
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possession documents that appear to contradict much of what you've said in your prior congressional appearance. as well as what the ostpp explained. but they were not easy to come by despite the letter last december and despite asking about them in a briefing committee arranged on your behalf in september a briefing that was counseled the evening before it was scheduled to take place when your colleagues informed you that it there would be transcribed. i find the white house lack of transparency in tolerable and an obstruction to the committee efforts to conduct oversight. it took the subpoena to get you here and another to compel your documents from the white house but even with that, we have yet
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to receive all of your documents in compliance with our issues september 19 exactly two months ago. committee staff have engaged in multiple reviews with white house lawyers yet there are still documents being withheld in the committee without the claim of a legally recognized privilege. that begs the question what are you hiding mr. park. perhaps it's that you knew that there were serious problems prior to the launch, but you didn't convey them in your briefings with the president. they were ignored because of this, no matter what the
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consequences may be here we are a year later in an impression to the beginning of the second open enrollment with questions that still remain about this 2 million-dollar debacle that you are a credited with fixing and that i might add got hacked this summer and according to the recent accountability office report still has weaknesses as they see both in the process used for managing information security as well as the technical implementation of the security concerns. we look forward for this opportunity to ask you some of our questions. also now i ask unanimous consent to submit documents for the record which will be referenced in some of our questions. without objection, so ordered.
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before i yield to the ranking member ms. bernice johnson my friend from texas. they will come back to that statement later on. i might add that this is like the last time a cheering the subcommittee on oversight hearing and i would like to thank my friends on both sides. they've worked very hard as bipartisan management possibly can you might not have agreed on issues, some do and some dude --
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didn't. but it's something that i have been very privileged to chair and i wish all of you to not recognize the ranking member for her statement. >> thank you mr. chairman and let me express my appreciation since it might very well be the last. we have maintained a great relationship. 9% of the time we disagreed but i want to welcome the former chief technology officer of the united states to this committee hearing and i appreciate the willingness to appear before us. i want to apologize for all of the political sphere that is unfolding around your appearance please keep in mind that the
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hearing is largely an excuse for the majority to again express their dislike in the affordable care act and the online marketplace that has led to millions of americans medical coverage. i know they do not like obamacare into the majority voted at least 53 times during this congress to repeal or dismantle. nevertheless i want to add the members here today to remember that he isn't personally responsible for a ca for the problems october 1, 2013. it is clear that you were not responsible for how the website performed october 1. and doling out the responsibility since day number one i think it was fair to assign which has the involvement in developing the website.
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of course your job at the white house would have more insight than most into the center for medicare and medicaid services we are doing and developing the program. but the management of the program was up to cms and the people doing the actual development work were contractors who answered to cms. it doesn't be quite to being involved were directly responsible for the website and of course your real job during the period had deleting more to push technology into the american economy and across society. for example, you were working with the government easily accessible that can spur innovation, profits and jobs.
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as it has been demonstrated by the way that the publicly available weather service data spawned the weather forecasting industry. i think it is fair to say that fundamentally you were working to make services of the government more only available to citizens. you are working to help reduce information cost in various areas of the economy the notably to let consumers get a that consumers get a better idea about energy consumption and sourcing. you were facilitating the dialogue to bring experts on particular social issues face to face with experts from the it world. laudably you were part of an initiative aimed at stopping human trafficking and another initiative designed to find ways to harness the disaster
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response. i know that as eyesight these examples i'm just scratching the surface of the scope of your day job. regrettably the committee has made no effort to understand this raw portfolio of your competence and has shown little appreciation for your patriotic desire to serve even though it meant leaving silicon valley it starters and venture capitals. from the bottom of my heart i want to thank you for all you do try to do with fixing the healthcare.gov website after october 1. i hope that your experience will not diminish your sense of pride and accomplishment or enthusiasm for public service. we need people like you to be willing to come serve this country. thank you and i yield back.
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i disagree about a couple of issues. one is that we have recognized mr. park publishers and responsibilities outside of being involved in healthcare. he said he wasn't deeply involved. there will be e-mails that you have that show us so it isn't easy or involved and it seems to be the mantra of this administration. they are not involved in have no responsibility for the issues but thank you. i recognize mr. smith for five minutes. >> americans have seen firsthand the misrepresentation around
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obamacare. first there was the broken promise that if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it. then in a video that surfaced last week the mit professor principal architect of obamacare admitted how the administration sold this to the american people saying lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. basically of the voter or whatever but basically that was really critical to getting obamacare to pass. finally come after a year request the administration agreed to have someone i worked in the white house testify about the lack of security of the healthcare.gov website. mr. todd park is an officer for the office of science and technology policy to august, 2014. joining adjoining the obama administration and the health and human services minister park
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was one of the architects for the website. former health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius later called the website a debacle with the recent estimated cost of $2 billion. today we will review the white house repeated misinformation about the healthcare.gov website. the e-mails show 80 ~ knowledge of cyber security issues in the website. it was about the website security. mr. parker had several contractors review this and on october 10 soon after the website went operational to minister park read an article by david kennedy the white house hacker to testify twice before the committee. the article was entitled is the affordable care website secure, probably not. he commented in an e-mail how he was advised that they are on a
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level. we are asking mr. park to explain his role in developing the website and what the administration knew about the risk of the website. as of today they failed to provide the committee of the list of documents that are subject to this subpoena. of the ones we do have paint a different picture than that of the office of science and technology policy. as i said, the committee has not received all of the e-mails and documents that were subject. so another hearing may well be necessary. finally i want to take a moment to thank the chairman of the oversight committee paul brown for his tireless efforts on the subject as well as for many others that have come before the subcommittee. we appreciate the public service and his dedication over the years to his constituents, to the conference and to the country. so thank you for all that you've done. we appreciate all your good work and i look forward to today's hearing.
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>> as i mentioned he will be joining us in a bit and he will give his opening statement at this time. if there are members that wish to submit additional opening statements they will be added to the record at this point. at this point i would like to introduce the former chief technology officer of the united states and assistant to the president. prior to this role, he served with the u.s. department of health and human services. and before entering federal service committee cofounded athena & co. led the development into one of the most impressive health it companies in the industry. as our witness should know, spoken testimony is limited to five minutes after which the members of the committee will have five-minute speech to ask
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questions. mr. park is the practice of the subcommittee on oversight to receive testimony under oath. if you would now please stand and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear and affirm to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? you may be seated. but the record reflect that the is answered in the affirmative. i recognized mr. park for five minutes to present your testimony. >> chairman brown thank you for your service and jermaine smith, ranking member johnson, members of the committee, good morning. i'm looking forward to the opportunity to offer testimony today. it begins i'd like to provide context for my time as u.s. chief technology officer that will be helpful addressing questions that you've asked to answer. i am a health it entrepreneur by background and have been blessed with success in that arena. only in america can this left
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two immigrants from korea have the kind of business building experience that i have been blessed to have. i love this country. much and it's been the greatest honor of my life to serve. in march, 2012 after two and a half years working at the department of health and human services i joined the office of science and technology policy. in this role my primary job was to serve as a the technology policy innovation adviser in the broad portfolio of issues working on the data policy initiatives have to advance the open internet and harness the power to fight human trafficking and more. my role was not to over see the internal federal budget on rations. however given my background and as he told entrepreneur i was asked to provide assistance which are managing the development of the health care including federally facilitated marketplace for health
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insurance. i provide assistance in a few different capacities. for example he served as one of the cochairs in the committee organized by the office of management and budget in which focused on providing a neutral venue which agencies like cms and others could work through. a primarily in support which ended up going quite successfully. in early 2013 to help identify actions to improve the product execution as well as associated follow-on work from time to time i helped connect people to each other and served as a spokesperson and provided health on particular questions. however, to properly calibrate the expectations of the knowledge of the initial development of the new healthcare.gov and the federal facilitated marketplace i wasn't a project manager managing and executing the operational work of building the new healthcare.gov. this was the responsibility.
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i didn't have the kind of comprehensive detailed knowledge of the effort by the hands on project manager would have and which i have had about other projects in my private-sector work. i assisted the work as an adviser executing my duties as the white house technology innovation adviser working on a broad range of issues as i described earlier. as the new federally facilitated marketplace rolled out in the fall of 2013 and as the extent of operational issues it became an all hands on deck moment and i dropped everything i was doing and increased my involvement dramatically shifting full-time into the effort and working as part of the surge that improved performance on the site. i worked as part of feature 16 working around the clock. my focus was hoping to reduce the amount of time and improve the site speed and ability to handle high user volume and the
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functionality. the team effort drove massive improvement in the site ultimately enabling millions of americans to sign up for health insurance through the site many of whom had previously been uninsured. at the end of the day the last day of the extended and will that i went back to detect policy advisor and by involvement coordinating the scaled-back dramatically. as another note i understand the primary interest has been the security. i do not have the expertise the professors and other experts who previously testified before the committee had. responsibility for the cybersecurity rests with cms. my involvement has been rather tangential. we had a privacy group but it was staffed and led by industry personnel who occasionally asked the overall committee chairs to help facilitate the dialogue and who generally drove the ultimate
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answers themselves. there were small number of other occasions i was asked to serve summarizing the general context supplied by the hhs to function as a liaison or facilitator connecting people to each other or to provide my general thoughts for whatever they were worth but again i'm not the cybersecurity expert. as a final note at the end of august of this year i stepped down as the ceo and returned home to silicon valley for filling my wife's desire. i continued to serve the country as a consultant to the white house white house distance of up to value focused on tracking more and more of the best in the nation to serve the american people. which is important to our work as a government to improve the government delivers digital service and the power technology in general. thank you for the other two need to provide some context context for my testimony today and i look forward to answering your questions as best i can.
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>> committee rules limit to five minutes. the chair at this point will open the round of questions. the chair recognizes himself for five minutes. >> let's clarify something. you open the statements today that you did not have comprehensive detailed knowledge of the development, testing and the cybersecurity of healthcare .gov websites and that you assisted cms with its work as an advisor. yet if you refer to tab number eight in your binder you can read along from the highlighted sections of one of your e-mails
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june 26, 2,013-cent about the deep dive session. specifically you wrote, quote, i'm also going to visit with henry and with one of our deep dive sessions to get up to speed on the latest status of the it testing. there is no substitute for an evening and i've. so i bring healthy food and snacks to baltimore and campout with the team for a few hours. please explain to me how you define deep detailed knowledge and then contrast that with a experience with mr. chow that lasts for several hours.
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>> i would be delighted to. in my experience when you have the deep into the knowledge of a project that comes from being the project manager and the person in charge of running things, you know what's going on the access of what's going on on an ongoing basis and that's the role that i served in my private-sector life on a variety that isn't the but that isn't the role i was serving on the marketplace. what's happening here is that on a few occasions i spent time with the folks who were running the project. but that pales in comparison to the detailed conference of knowledge that you would have as the project manager running the thing on an ongoing basis. >> so you have supervisory functions. do you agree with health secretary kathleen sebelius
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assessment of the that the rollout of the website was a debacle click >> it was unacceptable. >> acknowledged in your opening statement that you are one were one of three white house cochairman of the affordable care information technology exchanges steering committee and that at least initially meant on a monthly basis. what was your role in this meeting and what you see that would you say that you were the leader of the review? >> i was one of the three cochairs and it was led and organized by the office of management and budget and the role of the committee was to focus on providing neutral than you where the agencies could come together and work on interagency issues rarely in support of the data service. >> april the 11th, 2013 in an e-mail sent at 2:31 p.m. with
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the subject coordination together then u.s. chief information officer expressed concerns about your closeness to the center for medicare and medicaid services i writing this cms is not inclusive and isn't leading a a carbonated effort that will lead to success rate i'm also worried that you are getting the cms centric picture and i would love nothing more than this not to be the case and to be assured the implementation is on a path we want to be on and that existing efforts will deliver what we want. your response to him set the same day states, quote, thanks so much for the note and the chat. any apologies for not staying with you on this we will make sure that we stay in close think
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going forward. to be clear, this is the same cms that the policy told the committee in various letters is in a far better position to discuss the standards that are in place for the website. you did not the ninth of closeness, and indeed your closeness to the individual searches of the chief information officer and michelle snyder that then chief operating officer at cms and the number two official is evident in many e-mails we have seen in your conversation. if you are not the leader, then why was he looking towards you for guidance and if you were so close to cms vendor surely you would just find a position to answer our questions about the website and should have done so
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a year ago. >> figure for the opportunity to discuss this particular e-mail. as i recall this was precipitated by the fact that i had assisted in my opening testimony with a red team exercise cms had been gauged into basically assess the risks and identify the actions to mitigate those risks in early 2013. he wasn't actually involved in that. he was expressing the concern about the fact that he wasn't synced up and was worried about a variety of different things. what i can say is that we didn't sync up on the results and recommendations and path forward on the steering committee and
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his concerns basically were dealt with in a way that was satisfactory. >> my time has expired. i now recognize ms. johnson for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chair. mr. brown summarized your explanation regarding deep dive by saying you had a supervisory responsibility. did you have supervisory responsibilities? >> i would click >> i would not describe it that way. i was assisting cms, but cms was responsible for delivering the marketplace and the new healthcare.gov. >> how would you describe your work on healthcare.gov during your tenure? >> so we are talking about the new healthcare.gov. i would again describe it as a
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come as i referred to in my testimony i assisted in different capacities serving as the cochair of the steering committee for the agencies to work together on the issues and supportive of the hub and assisting the red team exercise and red team exercise serving on time to time as a spokesperson and i began as an assistant as an advisor certainly not as the person who was the hands-on project manager running the thing. i was doing this work as i was fulfilling my broad portfolio duties as technology policies at the white house. >> could you give me an idea of the broad responsibility would be for being the chief technology officer over and
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above, around or in conjunction with whatever way you want to put it? >> yes ma'am. my job was to be a technical policy adviser at the white house focused on how can the technical help build a bright future for the country and for the american people. so there was a wide range of initiatives that i worked on and championed. you mentioned one in your opening statement that the open data policy initiatives are focused on opening up. the information in the federal government such as weather data, public etc. they paid for and returning it back to the american entrepreneurs and researchers to turn it into all kinds of incredible product
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services and companies that help people and create jobs. i also was one of the creators and leaders of the immigration bill program which was an effort to bring in the most amazing entrepreneurs from outside government to work on projects like blue button which has enabled over 100 million americans to download copies of their own health information. i did a whole bunch of work in figuring out how we could tap into the ingenuity and the private sector to help use the power of technology to fight the evil of human trafficking and to help prove disaster recovery response and other priorities. i worked on policy issues like how do you improve the supply of the wireless spectrum in the country and it's the most
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amazing experience i've ever had. >> you could be asked questions in a loop and really had no key responsibility. >> there was a chunk of my time that i reserved for basically being an advisor on issues that came up beyond the initiatives i was championing. that's the bucket in which i put being helpful which i did try to do in the capacities that i described. >> i yield back mr. chairman. >> the full committee chairman mr. smith for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman for being here today. as i understand you were briefed
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and given notice that there were several problems with the obamacare website. did you delete the website was to secure when it was first made operational? >> over the course of any large-scale issues and challenges that come up. >> if you think the website was secure before it was operational. >> i did. >> despite the warnings you got pointed out the problems you still thought that it was secure? did you discount the briefings and of the notice? which briefings and notice or you referring to? >> the >> there were e-mails and other
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indications that you knew that there were problems. >> the red team exercise didn't really focus on security to be a debate focused on how the project was being run. >> i'm referring to the same. it didn't really focus on security. >> but you are on notice that shouldn't be operational. >> of the report addressed the general management project and talked about -- >> be pointed out the problems that you discounted them. >> the risks were tied to the action to mitigate the risk. >> so you think they were addressed before the website was made operational. >> i think the risks addressed by the report my understanding
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is that they were addressed. >> that's amazing because both then and more recently all of the various studies that were conducted neither one found the website was secure and neither one found that it was without risk. more recently the accountability office found they had weaknesses when it was first deployed including incomplete security plans and privacy documentation and security tasks and a lack of an alternative process to avoid major service disruptions. this report also finds weaknesses remain both in the process has managing the privacy and so forth. it remains insecure. despite the warnings by the independent objective entity.
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>> they have the best information about the details and security. >> the government accountability office review. the language i just read or a direct quote from the gal. >> i'm not an expert in this arena. >> you said repeatedly that you were an advisor. do you advise people that it was? >> that is not the area that it concentrated. >> do you consider the website secure today? >> i didn't ask whether you would use it. do you think the website is secure today? >> my understanding is that it is. >> despite all these studies and author reports saying it's not,
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do you still think it is? >> the best source of information about that is. do you discount the credible saying that it's insecure and do you disagree? >> i would refer you -- stomach you're asking people to develop the plan what are they going to say i was asking you as an advisor what you thought these independent entity reports were accurate or not. >> i can't say that i've actually gone through. >> duty you've advised the white house for me to the white house. did you at any point we did the president or the white house about the obamacare website
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before it went operational. as i recall i gave a briefing on the officials about the results of the red team review. >> how many times roughly? >> i can recall to. >> and during those two or more times did you ever see anything about the problems that were inherent in the system were about anything to receive? >> did you alert the white house staff to any problems in the white house.
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>> there were risks. >> the actions had been taken yet. >> the actions at the time identified the team risks. we present both the risks and the actions and in july the actions had been taken. >> you notified the white house of the risk then you came back later and said even despite the outside entities saying there were still talks. >> this is how it is being run. into the super clear, briefed on the work to the senior white house officials there were risks to be dealt with and actions that need -- >> that answers my question. thank you. >> mr. peters for five minutes.
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>> thank you for your service on the committee and i wish you the best going forward. there's been some suggestions on the security discussion of health care -- c. seven and it's not necessarily true that means the information site is insecure. they worked in the department of homeland security to analyze the effect of the package found on the site and according to the director for u.s. computer readiness come of this type of malware isn't designed to extract information and as a result of the intrusion i would like. hearing no objection, so ordered
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you function as the project manager when you were in the private sector is the perfect? >> as my colleagues suggested for the project manager of healthcare.gov or function as such that would be helpful to discuss the kind of activities the project manager does and you founded with jonathan bush, former president george bush. >> that's right my best friend. can you explain what was created from the ground up and what was in the new it company? >> thank you sir. it is a big complex undertaking.
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you've put together the best you can. you raise the initial money. you put together the best plan can and understand that it is about 17 seconds of contact of reality and you put the other initial prototype as fast as you can and try to figure out actual customers using it and then you iterate the plan and the product and it's an all-consuming thing you have in your head each key access of effort, how they are changing how the executions are changing constantly. >> is it fair to say that when you were on the project management you were very hands-on and had a complete and 50 understanding of the effort, very detailed knowledge. >> what is the role you played with respect to the healthcare marketplace?
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>> it's night and day as anyone that has built will tell you, again i did advise cms in a few different capacities in my testimony and earlier. but again it's very different from the project leader and manager running. it's the knowledge that you have in that context. >> is that kind of what you mean as an advisor? >> yes. i do think it strikes me that the rule with the project
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managers are from what you were we were doing it because it's pretty clear pulling people out of the bureaucracy. we are all trying to get to the same place. i would just observe that i've seen this in the committee. we are trying to get the best technology people that we can to work for the government. and in the defense side we have a great need for cyber warriors. we have to be very sensitive about how we treat people like you and those folks who can be in the private sector making much more money but are willing to give up their time to delay their careers to step out of them and help the government and i want to thank you for your service and i want you to know that i appreciate it and i hope that we were able to help recruit to help us in this effort and other efforts.
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>> thank you sir. >> now now we will recognize mr. sensenbrenner for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. park when you testified before the committee on oversight and government reform, you claimed ignorance about the issues with healthcare .gov prior to the website launch. you testified that you have had no detailed knowledge base of what actually happened before october 1. he further testified that you were familiar with the development and testing regimen that happened prior to october 1. what the e-mail record posted very different story. june the 11th you e-mailed the staff asking to check in on how things are going with respect to marketplace development testing. on june 26 you said you would visit his team for a session and
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then on july 12 he referenced the briefing that you were doing for the president. if you were preparing to brief the president and during deep dives with the staff in june and july of 2013, how can you claim to have no knowledge of issues prior to october 1 of the year? >> what i said at the hearing last november is the detailed knowledge base of what actually happened in the run-up to october 1 is as i described previously when i see really detailed knowledge base of what actually happened, that's the kind of knowledge that comes from being the project manager
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and not the kind of knowledge that one would have as an advisor in the series of occasions of people that are running the thing and ask questions. so that's what i would say. >> obviously on the june the 11th detail where you said you were going to check in on how things were going with the market place development and testing you just didn't ask that question out of the blue. obviously you were detailed or you decided to try to check up on this and i don't know what goes on at the briefings. i imagine that there's quite a bit of detail that goes on but i guess it's kind of boggles my mind that if you didn't know the detail of that why were you asked to go in to brief the president or wasn't he
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interested in the detail of what was going on and whether it was going well or not. >> could you refer me into the e-mail that you are talking about? >> you e-mailed the staff to check in on how things were going with respect to the marketplace development and testing and then on june 26 you said you would visit henry child and his team for a one-hour evening deep dive session. >> i don't know if you have the same binder that i have. >> again, just speaking to this
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session, the difference between the detailed knowledge base that you have as a hint heads-up project manager and the knowledge from asking people in the project a set of questions over the course of a few hours is again just night and day. and also to address something that you asked earlier as i recall the event that you described was to follow up on the recommendations with respect to how the public should be managed and make sure the recommendations have been implemented as if that was the trigger. >> you denied involvement. but you were that you were involved because you asked how things were going and you asked
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for a deep dive briefing and you came in to brief the president about this and it seems a complete disconnect between you claiming ignorance and i don't think that the information you did get filled un and you certainly were not ignorant. how can you say when you came in to brief the president you briefed him from the base of ignorance. >> i don't believe that i said to the committee last november that i had no involvement whatsoever. what i said as said this is identity really detailed knowledge base of what actually happened in response to a question about something or
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another, so the point that we play that we want to make was we did have the kind of involvement that i described in my testimony >> my last question is what did you tell the president about healthcare.gov when you briefed him. the briefing in 2013 and then in the follow-up recommendations in terms of the risks and what to do about them and then the follow-up in the summer the briefing to the white house officials is that they implemented the key recommendations.
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>> as i recall, the president was there. >> thank you mr. sensenbrenner. mr. cramer for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want you to look at tab number five. >> thank you sir. this is an e-mail that has become a little bit famous. it's an e-mail from michele snyder dated september 29 at 6:22 p.m.. and in this e-mail which ends by her asking you to delete it she writes just so you know she decided in january we were going no matter what, hence the cool and the uncaring march that has occurred since january when she threatened me with the demotion or the forced retirement if i
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didn't take this on. did she have enough understanding of the risk to fight for the delay though and hell no. for just one moment let's be honest with each other. i think a reasonable inference. the same day it says, quote, she appreciates that we will generate tonight that she and she alone will make the decision to go or not. what were the risks that were referenced but she asked you to delete? >> at the time i recall it was helping cms basically get
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hardware in place to provide additional service capacity for the marketplace and that is the issue that we were talking about. >> so the risk is there wasn't enough hardware? you tested your confident this was september 29. the risk was hardware? >> the risks being referred to is that based on what we have been talking about into the hardware did actually get to where it needed to go in an operation that worked pretty well. >> so about three hours earlier, she asked you, and that is located on tab number six, the
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questions but one of them is should we go live on october 1, so she is asking pretty close should we be going live on october 21? ..
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>> so some of these risks, did it ever get -- did you ever look beyond that because clearly there's his confidence that appears between you and her. she references the rant. she refers to it now probably or possibly losing her job and she raises these risks with the wrong people. in fact she did of course announced her resignation not too long after all of this. what i'm trying to get at is, as an adviser was your advice only
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given to this one person over others higher up the chain and considering -- considering earlier you did brief the president himself. was there the concern raised by other people to these risks that seem to be so central between you and ms. snyder? >> so with respect to what we are talking about here which as i recall are risks associated with not having enough server capacity, the senior management team office help performance at the white house were following what was happening very closely. >> and they give you all the confidence in the world that was all that was necessary? >> is a question that i got asked to be helpful on was getting hardware to the data center for service capacity and that operation ended up being successful as i recall. >> my time has expired mr. chairman. thank you. >> i recognize mr. posey for
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five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. park in an e-mail chain with the subject heading how serious are you about using homestead air force base to get the equipment to culpeper dated september 28, 2013 located in your tab 12. >> thank you sir. >> you and mr. henry chow worked with mrs. laura fasching from verizon to discuss several last-minute options transports and hardware for computer equipment beta private ground, private jet cargo or even air force jets. for someone claiming to not have a detailed knowledge base of what actually happened pre-october the first, you seem to be all in on a lot of aspects of operations related to the
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healthcare.gov web site. so i'm wondering who's idea was it to procure the equipment and what the need was for spending $40,000 in taxpayers money to transport a computer for them by plane. >> thank you for the question. just to clarify when i say really detailed knowledge base of what happened prior and not talking about one aspect of what happened. i'm talking about the full breadth of what happened over the course of the project so as i have said i did advise semacode a few different capacities. this was one where what happened is cms contacted me as i recall that said you know we think we have long story short and need for additional hardware to get the data center and they were the ones who teed up the notion of potentially a military option and i volunteered to help look into that for them.
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>> is to retain for a white house official or actually an assistant to the president as you were at the time to be engaged in last-minute discussions with the contractor about the delivery of computer equipment and why and how did you get involved with that? >> so my style is to try to help in any way i possibly can so i got asked to help with this and i threw myself into trying to help and although the military option ended up not being used, there is private transport, the operation to get hardware they are worked out. >> it sounds like a pretty detailed knowledge base. >> not of the whole project i was working. this is one very specific and very narrow aspect at a certain time. >> you also appear to be the point of contact for technology companies and the people such as
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palantir red hat and even gartner company is to help with the administration's messaging on the healthcare.gov around the time the committee on homeland security hearing on septembe september 112013. in fact a gartner analyst provided to quote that the statements made in simms letter to ranking member of homeland security committee represent current best practices for the protection of sensitive and regulated data and assistance. that's on page 14. >> thank you sir. >> wondering how often you reach out to such companies or people to talk about aspects of the healthcare.gov web site for either pr purposes or technical purposes? >> not that often as i can recall.
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but on several occasions, yes. >> when do you recall? >> you mentioned this one. i can speak to red hat so what happened there was that cms passed me -- asked me to be on the phone with them as they asked for additional red hat resources to be applied. it was communicated this was the top part of the government which i wanted to do. i can talk to the palantir example. there again as part of my role as a facilitator. i connected the palantir to cms and have a discussion on a high level about cybersecurity. >> that's a little bit beyond the scope of advisory wouldn't you think? >> not in my experience, no. >> arranging contractors to get together? >> actually it's just assisting, as i said in different
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capacities. >> what do they have to say about the web site? did they provide feedback to other aspects are the security of the web site? >> as i recall after the conversation the expert said here is what he you should be thinking about, cms said that basically what they were thinking about so that is what i recall. >> that's the only time you're aware of any security issue at all? >> again that call basically was a high-level call and pelletier said now with any particular knowledge healthcare.gov i would hear the kinds of things that best practices and cms said yes that makes sense. >> you had mentioned that you would use the web site. just out of curiosity are you enrolled in obamacare? >> i am not but i can take my insurance for the federal
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government. my duty in government which has been the greatest experience in my life will at some point end and i'm excited about enrolling in market recovery california. >> the people that said don't feel bad about that, my time has expired. >> thank you mr. posey. mr. johnson you are recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. good morning mr. park. >> good morning sir. >> you and i share something in common. my background is 30 years in information technology. i have never been a chief technical officer but i've certainly been a program manager, chieftains -- information officer even had chief technical officers work for me. >> god bless you. >> i certainly understand from where eucom. and i must confess to you mr. park that i find it a little
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bit disingenuous that you would qualify or classify your role in all of this is simply an advis adviser. you know, in 2008 when the president issued a position on the use of technology and innovation he talked about standing up the nation's first chief technology officer and two quote from what came directly from at that time the campaign web site said that the cto will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort working with the chief technology and information officers of each of the federal agencies to ensure that they use best in class technologies and share best practices. in november of 2008 the president reiterated his intentions and again quoting from the president-elect web site that he would appoint the nation's first chief technology officer to ensure the safety of
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our networks. before that is set ensuring the security of our networks. so whether you envision your role being an adviser, the president said you were responsible. that is what ensuring means. as a cio, is a project manager, i know what ensuring means. it was your job to ensure the safety and security of those networks, at least according to what the president was telling the american people. so i want to go to your role as the cochair of the aca i.t. exchange steering committee. if i look at that document, the charter that set that up one of the responsibilities and their is to direct the formulation of workgroups to identify the barriers and recommend fixes and those kinds of things and two of
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those working groups were directly related to data-sharing and privacy and security harmonization. what was your role then as the cochair? do you either misrepresented your knowledge of cybersecurity to the president or you didn't do your job. which was that? >> thank you for the opportunity to address a couple of different questions in there and i respect your service to the country. so the position of u.s. cto has enrolled a lot of what i can represent is what i did in the roland cybersecurity for the federal government has very much not been part of my role. >> i don't want to use my whole time just pontificating mr. park. when you were with female health was cybersecurity apart of what you considered important in
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standing up that cloud base system? >> sure. >> it was, okay. on september, on september the second of 2013 you send an e-mail to christopher jennings. it said hi chris, here the cybersecurity background points for you. the first three are the points cms but together previously which i'm sure you have party scene followed by a couple of points about next steps currently underway. so are you trying to tell this committee that you knew nothing about the security failures and the security risks associated with healthcare.gov? >> would you mind just pointing me to what you are referencing?
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>> i'm not sure where it is in your tab but i've got it here. i don't know where it is in your tab. >> okay let me just speak to a think the episode i think you are talking about but a long story short since we have very little time left, so the content that was put together for office of health reform on cybersecurity was content supplied by cms and hhs. >> but mr. park there you are being disingenuous again. you are the nation's cto appointed by the president to ensure the safety and security of our networks. you can't just say this was cms's responsibility and let me ride -- remind you that you can delegate responsibility to people that do the actual coding to project and program managers that you can't delegate
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accountability. you are responsible, you are connable to the president and the american people and he testified this morning that you briefed the president several times. did you ever once tell the president that you had concerns about the security of the system in your role as chief technical officer? >> began to go back to my initial understanding. in my role as u.s. cto i haven't been the cybersecurity operations hasn't been the focus. >> but it was his cochair of the steering community -- committee. he did have that responsibility. >> i was one of three co-chairs organized by omb and there was a private security subgroup as you mentioned staffed by personnel and driven by them. the point of us has co-chairs
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was that they need to get together to do that work. >> that's not my reading of the charter but my time has expired mr. chairman and i will yield back. >> thank you mr. johnson. now i recognize my friend eric swalwell for five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you for your service. you served four years as chairman of this committee and you have always respected yourself and your chairmanship with dignity and i know mr mr. mcveigh -- maffei share that with me privately. today may be a day of disagreement but i sincerely believe that we conduct this hearing fairly as we have in the past that we will emerge as the more, emerges a better understanding of what mr. park did and most importantly did not do with respect to healthcare.gov. fairness is particularly important because this hearing has a feeling quite frankly as a former prosecutor of a trial and
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the only witness before us is mr. park. the title of the hearing implies we are going to examine his involvement in the healthcare.gov web site that most significantly staff report released by you mr. chairman chairman smith on october 28 functions as a memorandum that makes very damning allegations regarding mr. park's honesty before the committee on oversight and government reform and dr. hultgren in his replies to this committee in dr. park's involvement in cybersecurity. as a former prosecutor believe allegations made against mr. park could place him in legal jeopardy. he deserves a chance to tell his own story and put these allegations to rest and i believe he can do that mr. park is a successful entrepreneur in the i.t. world who take a break from developing a successful company to come to washington d.c. to to help the government in the country think of creative ways to use information technology to improve our economy and address important social problems.
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he is a a patriot and he is the son of immigrants who have put your role in keeping the american economy vibrant and expanding. mr. park's appearance understand today as is his wife as is his pastor and friends from the i.t. business world. i mention this to remind all members it's not to confuse their feelings towards the affordable care act with mr. parks is a person. you serve the public and did his best and should be thanked for his contributions. in fact mr. park is returned to the bay area and i know people personally who have been contacted by mr. park who he's trying to recruit to bring bright young young innovative starch of the i.t. world to take a break from the multi-million dollar contracts that they have in silicon valley to come up to washington d.c. and try to solve problems. i cannot imagine that this helps them make that case. in fact this probably makes it much harder for him to make that case to go through a process like this. i reviewed the minority staff report which i asked to be made part of the record built him a
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complete repeal the documents produced by the white house. the staff makes a very strong argument supported by white house documents that mr. park did not have a deep director intimate involvement in any of the work of the developing on line marketplace launch on october 1, 2013 are the cybersecurity standards and techniques used for the site. if he was playing such a role there should be monthly progress reports for contractors to show progress against deliverables and requirements cost of work a critical path analysis to identify where problems threaten a successful launch in and a discussion of the integration process for the site across an army of contractors on the projects. none of these documents have been produced because mr. park was not the day-to-day manager on the project nor are there any kinds of documents at any of the contractors produce doing the actual work with the results are discussion of code performance
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and testing results. those documents can be found at cms which manage this complex acquisition among contractors. i believe that mr. park's job was about trying to push technology in the record in the evidence supports that. technology throughout all levels of the country to improve our competitiveness and quality of life. it's just one example of mr. parks initiative to find innovative methods to use i.t. and dictated to combat human trafficking. i don't think there's any member who favors human trafficking. that is as nonpartisan and initiative as you can get. mr. park is working full-time in a much wider swath of issues and areas than healthcare.gov. members i hope will not lose sight of data gets tunneled vision about mr. park simply because we have such a narrow set of records. i believe if mr. park is given a fair chance, a fair opportunity to answer questions here today that members on both sides of the aisle would conclude that
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mr. park was not a principle actor in the development of healthcare.gov prior to october 1 of 2013 and had no role in developing cybersecurity standards are techniques for the web site. mr. park i'm going to apologize to you now for the way have been treated up hopefully you'll get apologies from the chairman and other members by the end of this hearing. thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman to stand and cheer will yield five minutes of questions i appreciated. >> you are recognized for five minutes for questions. >> mr. park you are not a cybersecurity expert are you? >> i'm not. >> mr. park the white house provided several e-mails from you to cms relating to cybersecurity. was there ever a time where you are writing to cms to give them direction on cybersecurity standards, design testing or tools? >> not that i can recall, no.
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>> when he wrote to him at cms about cybersecurity you were doing it because someone at the white house and she together information weather for breaking our meetings were to be used as a precedent for the white house. >> correct. >> when dr. hultgren wrote to this committee that quote mr. park and ostp personnel have not been substantially involved in implementing the federally facilitate a marketplace security measures and mr. park is not the cybersecurity expert. he did not develop or improve the security measures in place to protect the web site and he does not manage those responsible for keeping them. his every element of the statements made by dr. hultgren. >> henry child ramba web site development for cms and mr. chow told the white house and the house oversight and government reform committee that he did not run the cybersecurity development. with 100% confidence do you know before october 2013 who was in
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charge of cybersecurity on this project? >> i believe it was tom schenk wyler but i'm not 100% sure he was the leader. >> henry chow was doing the day-to-day management of the development of healthcare.gov was interviewed by the staff of the house oversight and government reform committee. he was asked if you taught park played a management role and replied that this is mr. chow's words come you didn't own anything meaning he didn't have the budgets, the staff for contractors. the day-to-day management still falls on the operating agency end quote. is this an accurate statement mr. park? >> yes sir. >> rio manager on the health care that web -- health care.com web site? >> i did assist in ways that i have testified too early. >> did you have any control authority over budgets that for contractors? >> no sir. >> u.s. mr. chair child about an
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end-to-end review with all the contractors about the state of the program. initially mr. chow said yes and then you mention in an e-mail to michelle snyder mr. chow's supervisor that you are going to be a quote unquote fly on the wall at the event and then ms. snyder responds end quote flies on the wall or so of them invisible and seldom distracting and then mr. chow writes a letter that the review is not the place for an observer. did you go to this mating? >> i did not. >> he spoke with mr. chow and ms. snyder about getting a walk-through of the live web site system as it was developing in mid-july. people are alleging that you were deeply involved in implementation and development of the site so i assume that you got that walk-through very quickly. >> as i recall i believe the walk-through ended up happening with other officials in early september. >> now was out of walk-through that was exclusive to you or
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were there other officials present? >> other officials were present. >> those managing and directing ball to million-dollar level projects always get a course to track projects. usually it's in the form of a monthly report for contractors show their performance and requirements the dollars spent the value which even the critical issues. without these detailed reports mr. park is it possible to have a detailed knowledge of how a project is going at in on the ground level and if so, did you have any reports? >> you need those kinds are part and frankly you need more. you need to be on the ground. >> were you on the ground? do you have those reports? >> no sir. >> collecting talking points for breathing does not translate into intimate involvement in the developing and testing of the web site. mr. park was not managing acquisitions and was not designing the cybersecurity system and he sure as heck was not a contractor in the trenches
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which i think is pretty apparent from his testimony. he was the chief technology officer of the united states with a broad portfolio ranging from human trafficking to other important technology advising and he did a lot more work with that portfolio than any two normal people could pull off but at some point the actual evidence has to guide our opinion of mr. park which is that he was not intimately involved in the development of healthcare.gov. and i yield back. >> thank you mr. swalwell and he reminded me without objection we will in enter into the record or on majority staff reports. now i will recognize without objection the chair recognizes ms. bonamici. >> thank you for allowing me to participate in the subcommittee hearing. even though i do not serve on the subcommittee i do serve on the full committee.
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it's an area of interest to me and i'm glad to be here today and i want to thank mr. park for being here and withstanding this line of questioning that frankly concerns me. i want to align myself with the remarks made by my colleagues mr. peterson mr. swalwell. when we have someone who who has common given so much to this country from the private sector and done so much we want to make sure that we send a message to the american public that we appreciate your sacrifice and all of your hard work mr. park and i would imagine that when you said yes when you are asked to come and serve your country you never imagined he would be sitting in a subcommittee hearing with what appears to be a game of gotcha about a series of e-mails. so i want to start again by saying thank you so much for your service. as someone who represents a district in oregon with a lot of high-tech industry in innovation
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i appreciate all you have been doing and understand that the drive for i.t. innovation to improve service delivery is something that we can all benefit from so thank you for your expertise. >> thank you maam. >> you are welcome and apologies for being a bit repetitive on some of these issues that i want to make sure a couple of things are clear and that is what happens when you go last. sometimes you sound like you were being repetitive but i noticed the title on the majority's report said something about knowingly put americans sensitive information at risk. and that's the title of the report. so mr. park did your interactions with the administration personnel working on healthcare.gov give you any cause to worry that they would knowingly put americans sensitive information at risk? >> not that i can recall, no. >> i understand from the documents that were provided to us by the majority, what we have been looking at here are
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numerous e-mails that were exchange with members of the administration and officials on the subject of healthcare.gov but what we have not seen is what must be many e-mails that you have exchange with them on other efforts that occupied your time. i know for example that you worked on that connect ad initiative and given my role on the education committee i'm grateful for your efforts with that as well. so we heard about a couple of other areas that you worked on but i understand that you oversaw at least 15 initiatives including healthcare.gov so would you care to tell us a little bit about a few of those other so we can understand the breadth of what you are doing? >> sure and just to be specific these are initiatives that i was either championing. championing and that didn't include healthcare.gov. at advice and assistance was something i gave my time that was set aside for reacting in helping on issues but in terms
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of the 15 or so initiatives i was darkly helping to drive as i described earlier included open data initiatives to help unlock the power of data inside the federal government by making it available in machine form for the public's entrepreneurs and technologists could grab it and turn it into credible services and products to a improve lives and jobs. whether data has empowered all kinds of innovation in the weather and jobs as a result. i championed the set of initiatives as as been described things like private-sector technologists and innovators to help trafficking rallying innovators to build tools for that. i similarly do the same thing to improve recovery and response in my work, policy initiatives like how to advance freedom of the
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internet, how to share wireless spectrum across the country as the spectrum continues to increase significantly. i was the co-founder of the presidential innovation program that brings an amazing technologist from the private sector to work with the best technologists and changing government on all kinds of exciting initiatives like blue button and green button to get access to their own health data and more. >> thank you and i think we get a sense from that of many of the areas where you do have expertise in where you did serve our country and i want to suggest that the time on the science committee would have been much better spent in talking about some of those issues like open access, like innovation in health care technology rather than trying to get you to say that you are an expert in cybersecurity which obviously from everything i've read and seen and heard you are not on this issue.
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so thank you again for spending your time here. thank you for your service and i hope we can have you come back sometime and talk about those areas that the public would really be interested in hearing about that would be a great use of the science committee time. thank you again mr. park for your service. >> thank you maam. >> thank you ms. bonamici. your time has expired. before we started like to get myself some leeway as chairman of the subcommittee for one last question for you mr. park. whenever e-mails provided to the committee late last friday was one on october the tenth where you reported an article that you had read by david kennedy a hacker who testified twice before this committee about his concern. the headline from that article was is the affordable health care web site secure? probably not. mr. park you want to refer to it and tab 15 in your binder.
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even commenting about david kennedy's article that quote discussants made by someone who sent these guys are on the level end quote other documents provided to me showed that security experts expressed concerns with the security of the web site around that same time. mr. park you think david kennedy's concerns with the security of the web site or on the level? >> so thank you for the question. as i recall this did get sent to me by someone that was -- we were paying attention to. i can't comment on that. >> do you think he was on the level, yes or no? >> i don't have the judgment or the knowledge to say and that's why i forwarded immediately to cms which then evaluated it. >> are you being level with us today? >> yes sir.
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>> you reportedly briefed president obama vice president biden and health secretary kathleen sibelius and others about the problems with the web site. only a few days after reading david kennedy's report did you ever express the warnings that were in david kennedy's report about the lack of security with the web site to the president or others in the white house in that october meeting or any other previous meetings? >> so again i think as i think this e-mail demonstrates i forwarded this to cms right away and cms responded with feedback by security analysis. >> the e-mail was only warning you gave to anyone. >> the code in review as the operational environment with operational -- and they forwarded it back to me. >> that was the only warning you
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gave anybody? >> sir cybersecurity is handled by cms. >> i'm just asking. >> i can report what happened. >> i take that the answer is no. >> mr. park i want to thank you for finally appearing before this committee. >> matt have a follow-up question? >> no sir. >> mr. chair? >> mr. park sorry we came to the point where we had to subpoena you to come before this committee but thank you for coming. you have been possibly under duress but obviously people can disagree on whether you were deeply involved or not but the health care.web web site. thank you for your service meant. the fact remains that the rollout of this web site was a debacle. that's not my testament of
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health secretary kathleen sebelius. my testament is the situation remains that you and others in the white house have been neither forthright or forthcoming about your role and responsibilities at the white house. integrity in government is integral to the public's faith in our democracy. does our nation's leaders must be open and honest with our fellow americans. with respect to roles in the executive branch congress has articulated in our constitution. the fact remains that the white house still has not provided all the documents pursuant to the committee's subpoena. we subpoenaed them and we still have not gotten them. perhaps that is why people still disagree about your role in the debacle. eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty. to that end the committee maintains that all documents
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pursuant to the subpoena be provided and we ask for the administration to please provide those expeditiously. after more thorough assessment of the documents he may be a called to appear before sig and mr. park in order to when they reach a better understanding. while i may no longer be in congress on that day the committee's vigilance on this matter will carry on. honest people can fundamentally disagree on several matters of national importance and we have seen that today. for example you believe that obamacare will be a great thing for americans and i think too much of it was predicated on a lie. as a medical doctor i medical doctor i believe obamacare is the wrong prescription for what ails our nation's health care system but that is the debate for another time. with that i want to thank you mr. park for appearing before us today and members of the committee may have additional
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questions for you mr. park and we will ask that you respond to those in writing please and do so expeditiously. i want to thank my friend anna mcveigh and eric swalwell for working with me through this process. it's been a great experience for me and i consider you a friend and i consider all the staff to be excellent. it's been great working with you all and the opportunity to work with ms. bonamici also and i have enjoyed working with her. i told her earlier today she just left me but it has been a great experience and i am tremendously honored to chair the subcommittee. the record will remain open for two weeks for additional comments are written questions for members. the witness is excused him a hearing is adjourned. >> thank you sir.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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deputy security adviser antony blinken said -- mr. blinken testified at his confirmation hearing to become deputy secretary of state.
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now president obama's choice to be deputy secretary of state tony blinken testifies at senate confirmation hearing. mr. blinken serves as deputy national security adviser. the senate foreign relations committee is chaired by bob menendez of new jersey. >> his nomination hearing for tony blinken deputy secretary of state will come to order. let me welcome you back to the committee as a former staff director of the committee for chairman biden at the time.
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you know as much about the nomination process as anyone although perhaps you are less familiar with being on that side of the table. between your service here at the white house you also have the challenge of managing multiple complex experiences and those experiences will serve you well when confirmed for this position. the united states is facing a range of critical challenges from a bowl in west africa to russian aggression in ukraine to the challenge of countering the isil in syria and iraq to iran's continued quest for a nuclear weapons program. at the same time we are seeking to forge new global partnerships with india, in the middle east and asia in looking for opportunities to expand american exports and business opportunities. so there will be no shortage of critical issues that you will
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face. each will require your full attention and the full attention of this committee and i look forward to hearing your views on all of these issues and working closely with you on issues of mutual concern should he be confirmed. foremost on our national security agenda is countering the barbarity of isil threatening our national security as well as the stability of the entire region and i would like to hear from you today about the administration's views on a nail isil specific aumf. i was hoping that the committee would hear from secretary kerry and/or secretary hagel this week, presidents announced plan to work with congress on a new aumf authorization for the use of military force but that did not happen. i continue to believe it is incumbent that congress take the lead in authorizing the use of force ended my view and a prolonged military campaign requires a new constitutionally approved, excuse me
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congressionally approved aumf and i believe congress should act and the evisceration suit seeks expeditious congressional action. we also face a continued crisis in ukraine where the cease-fire is collapsing as more russian tanks troops and weapons across the border into eastern ukraine and in my view it's time to provide defensive lethal military assistance to ukraine and escalate pressure on putin. sanctions are impacting russia's economy but putin continues on a reckless path and all indicators point to an imminent offensive to carve out a land bridge to carb beer. i believe we must be willing to raise the cost to britain which will come to the provision of legal military assistance to the government of kiev. clearly it's the beginning of a long list of challenges the diplomatic challenges are complicated and all of these challenges will be part of your portfolio as deputy secretary of state. i know that there will be times when we will agree and times
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that we will disagree but i look forward to working closely with you should you be confirmed. i think that your experience to date places you -- poisons you did an excellent job in this regard and i look forward to the answers to the questions but unless they surprise me look forward to supporting it. senator corker. >> thank you mr. chairman for having this hearing and i want to thank mr. blinken for his service to our country and his willingness to serve in this capacity. this position i think as most people know is a very important position. the deputy secretary serves as the secretary of state when the secretary is out of the country. and he also is the principle adviser to the secretary. a lot of people i think don't understand the importance sometimes of this position so it is very important. and it's important that he is a
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very candid adviser to the secretary. we have had the benefit of having someone who is a professional for 30 years. he has just left and he is someone who is very independent. he shared the good, the bad and the and i know we had a very private conversation the other day. i hope you'll be as forthcoming today issue were in our office but my strong desire is the person who fills this position is equally as independent and has the ability to share with us because it's our liaison to build to make the kinds of judgments we need to make here. and on that note i just have to say we have had some terse conversations in the past when i felt like speaking for the white house. i was being spun.
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i wasn't being taught to us a person about reality. i was being spun and we have a conversation about that and likely will have a conversation today about that. obviously this position is a very different position than someone spinning if you will for the white house and trying to paint a flowery picture about what has occurred. so it will be your responsibility to provide us the kind of information and work with us directly to help us create the best foreign policy for our nation. it's my hope that during this hearing again you will demonstrate that independence. if you are confirmed again i expect you to work very closely with us and again i look forward to your testimony today and again i want to thank you. we talked extensively about your background and your upbringing that i hope you will share some of that in your opening comments. but i do appreciate the fact
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that you have an extensive background and i do appreciate your commitment to serving our country in inappropriate ways of thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you. i know senator schumer wanted to be here to introduce you but because of floats we decided to move up the hearing with the agreement of the ranking member in order to try to get the bulk of this hearing and before we have a large number of floats. the votes are going to take a fair amount of time so i appreciate his willingness to come before the committee and recommend you to the committee and look forward to putting your statement of record. so let me remind you that your full statement will be entered into the record without objection. i would ask you to summarize five minutes or so so we can get to the heart of questions and answers that members want to hear. i certainly invite you to introduce any family members who are here with you today since we know they are part of the sacrifice of serving our nation.
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>> i am grateful to the president for the privilege for this nomination and i'm grateful to the past chairman of this committee to secretary of state kerry for his confidence in me and to vice president biden for his friendship, his partnership and his mentorship for more than a decade. it is indeed a novel experience for me to sit on the side of the dais. for six years i served as staff director of this committee and the majority, in the minority. i sat where mr. orion and mr. munson are sitting right n now. in my case behind the senators biden, helms lugar hagel-dodd
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kerry obama as well as several distinguished senators who will be here today. i watch them work together in the best tradition of bipartisan american foreign policy to strengthen our diplomacy to advance her interest and our values around the world. during those six years i developed enormous respect for the senate as a whole and for this committee in particular for its members, for its staff and for its indispensable role in shaping our nation's foreign policy. if confirmed i will do my best to uphold the standards of professionalism that i learned here in this room, in these halls and i've pledged to work closely with all of you to try to fulfill the potential and american leadership. there's another reason i am very attached to this committee. it confirms my father donald blinken to be ambassador to hungary. it confirms my uncle allen
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blinken to be ambassador to belgium and just last year it confirms my wife sitting behind me to be assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs so i really hope nothing i do today gives you cause to break this fine tradition of diplomatic service and her family. >> we hope you will do as well as she did. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you and let me say ranking member corker we talked about this i recognize that if confirmed i will play a role. part of my current job at the white house is to explain and defend this administration's policies including with congress. if confirmed my daily job brings additional responsibility to work for this committee and the leadership of the state department to advance our foreign policy in the national interest around the world. i've consulted with leaders i consider friends who play similar roles in the past including bob zoellick john negroponte richard armitage jim schneider and strobe thomas and
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i have to tell you if confirmed my role model would be my predecessor bill burns who epitomizes the word professional serving republicans and democratic illustrations alike with integrity balance indecency. let me also begin by thanking the committee for its work over the last two years whether the ukraine loan guarantee pepfar reauthorization embassy security oas reform pushing forward state department nominees this committee is played an indispensable role in translating our foreign policies vision patient practice and indeed bringing the vision itself and if confirmed in my new position i would again want to work very closely with every member. if i'm confirmed i would also be coming full circle to where i started in government 21 years ago the department stay. virtually every day since then during my time at the stage during 13 years over to the administrations at the white house on a national securities counsel seven during my tenure with this committee have worked with the men and women of the
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state department that i've experienced first-hand their extraordinary leadership of our foreign policy at a time of immense challenge and change. i have -- more than the americans will ever know to keep us safe, to keep a secure and to keep us prosperous. i would witness their passion i witnessed their energy i witnessed their courage and i've seen them bring strength to a word that deserves our respect, diplomacy. just in the past year american diplomacy has mobilized countries around the world to confront isil and ebola to sanction russia for its aggression ukraine to revitalize nato's commitment to the defense of its own members. the same hard-nosed policy backed by the federal force eliminate serious chemical weapon stockpiles an agreement with iran that stopped in some respects holding back its nuclear program. secretary kerry's personal diplomacy helped political blocs achieve the first peaceful political transition in that country's history and the secretary is worked tirelessly to build a secure lasting peace
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between the jewish democratic state of israel and the palestinians just as we stand resolutely with israel whenever and wherever it is under threat. we saw american diplomacy in action this summer at the first-ever leader summit building new relationships among governments with the private sector to unleash growth strengthen democratic institutions deepen our security partnerships. we saw the development banker week ago as vice president biden bringing countries together to support loose in central america as they develop plans to strengthen their cetaceans and combat the corruption of trafficking here at home in less weekly week the signage or president obama letter diplomacy to strengthen the core institutions in asia tell us time and effort to roll that climate change to build greater confidence between her militaries lower tariffs on information technology extend benefits for students businesses and the economy to advance democratization to bring a transpacific transpacific
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transpacific partnership was expression representing 40% of world gdp. you know in a few weeks just before christmas i think many of us certainly we will and kate in what is an annual ritual and that is to watch it's a wonderful life on television. we all know what happens when george bailey was out of the picture and to me at least it's evident where the world would be without american leadership in the picture and all the challenges i just mentioned that i would submit to the question before us is not whether america's leading for i believe we are but rather how we are leading to what ends to what effect and that is the proper subject for debate discussion and dialogue. mr. chairman i've submitted for the record some of my thoughts. i would just like to leave you if i could with a personal note. i want to give you brief insight into what brought me to government service and what motivates me every day to carry out the service. i am very fortunate. it was born into a family that had done very well. i actually acquired for parents along the way. i'm blessed with two wonderful
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stepparents as well as my parents have given me incredible love and support in everything that i have done. i grew up in new york and at an early age move to france and in france i had the unique experience from age nine to 18 a beginning to see the world through the eyes of others but in particular to see my own country through the eyes of others. i found myself enlisted at a very young age and playing junior diplomat trying to explain the united states to my fellow students during the end of vietnam war, the cold war afghanistan and i think that is what got me the most motivated and interested to do this work. even more than that it's a family story and i think we all come from family stories. they resonate and move us in a certain direction. my grandfather my father's father, fled what is now ukraine fling a program coming to the united states like so many others supporting his mother,
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his younger brother working his way through school sending his own sons off to harvard including my father who became ambassador to hungary and got the hungarian government to help bring an american troops so they could go into bosnia to protect its people. i'm proud of my father every day for the way he has conducted his life in the service. his wife my stepmother fled communist hungary literally at night on the train as a young child spirited out of the country. her mother married in a sham marriage to get out of the country. she came to united states and has given so much service over her life to the refugee committee to help others in me. my mother spent her entire career bringing the greatest american artists around the world at times when our policies were under challenge that soft power she has done so much to advance and has done wonders for our own foreign policy and finally her husband my stepfather. he was american by special act
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of congress that. he served in the keynes administration. he is among if not the youngest survivor of auschwitz having spent four years in the concentration camps. at the very end of the war when he was being marched on a death march out of the camps the allies were dancing from one side and the russians from the other. he made a run for it and they found cover despite the german fire. and a day later happen taking cover he heard a rumbling sound. it was a large tank and as he looked up from the shelter looked at the tank and instead of seeing the dreaded swastika he saw something else, a five pointed white star andy ran for the tank. the hatch opened up and he got down on his knees and spoke the only three words in english that he known that his mother had taught him. god bless america. ..
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has stated that he is interested in engaging congress on a new aumf. i am uncomfortable and i understand that the claims
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